Your IPv4 Address:

According to your IP address, you are near:
Ashburn, VA in United States (US)
Latlng: 39.0481,-77.4728

According to your IP address, you are in Ashburn

A brief introduction to IP address

This is, a place to learn more about Internet Protocol addresses, more widely known as IP addresses. All decives on a network that uses the Internet Protocol for communication is assigned a unique IP address. Your iPad, computer, router and printer all have IP addresses.

An IP Address serve the same purpose as your home address. It allows each device to be located and identified, and therefor helps the network deliver data to your device. Your IP sends requests, and the network replies to you. Almost all websites log data about visitors, and they do so based on the visitor's IP addresses. The IP address can even used to locate a decive geographically, just as we have tried on the map on this page. This technique is known as geolocation.

All devices on a network that uses the Internet Protocol for communication is assigned a unique IP address. Your iPad, your computer, your router and printer all have IP addresses.

Otherwise other parties in the network would not be able to deliver (and receive) data from the device. Netflix wouldn’t know how to serve your requests, and you would not be able to send a document to your printer via your home network. Without IP addresses, no online device would be able to communicate. 

In that way, an IP address can be compared to a telephone number. Both telephone numbers and IP addresses consist of a unique combination of numbers used to identify the end user, so that other parties can get in contact and exchange data. And just as telephone numbers, the number of possible IP addresses are actually limited – we can’t create indefinite IP addresses, although today it would seem that way. 

Actually we are very near the limit for the first type IP, the IPv4. That’s why IPv6 recently was introduced. The IPv4 simply will run out of combinations very soon.

Where the IPv4 can  hold approximately four billion addresses, the IPv6 theoretically can hold 2^128.  That's a 39-digit number. In other words, we will never run out of IPv6 addresses. Here you can find a Google graph about the IPv6 Adoption.

When devices have been assigned an IP address, they can then be connected to an IP network. The Internet is the largest and most well known IP network. In this network devices use their IP address to identify themselves and communicate with other devices in the network. The architecture of networking is built upon this system of using IP addresses, and the network wouldn’t be able to exist without it. 

So, even though you don’t spend that much time thinking about IP addresses, they are a vital structural element in our information society. You would not be able to view this webpage, if you didn’t have an IP address - or if the server on which this website is located didn’t have one.

IP addresses identify different attributes of the network

If we get a bit more technical, IP addresses are used to identify the different attributes of the network.

Also, IP addresses may change. The numbers in the address are split into two different parts: the first is the network part, that specifies which networks the address belongs to. The second is the host part, which states a more clarified location based on the host.

IP addresses communicate to one another using the TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) communication protocols.

TCP/IP is just a language that the computer uses in order to access the Internet, and almost all computers use this type of language. TCP/IP handles communication by creating messages that will be able to transmit and then it creates a way for the message to be transmitted. 

The TCP part of the TCP/IP deals with creating the message. The message has to be broken down into smaller bits, which are called packets, and then another TCP layer that will be able to reassemble the packets back into the message receives them.

The IP part of the TCP/IP deals with the transmission process or sending out of the information. This can be accomplished, as every device in the network will have an IP address. 

IP addresses are assigned by the DHCP

Network nodes, which are points of intersection and connection (in a personal office context, they are just known as devices, like printers), are assigned IP addresses by the Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) as soon as the node is connected to the network. 

With DHCP, new or transferred nodes are able to receive an IP address instantly because it has its own server, and will alert the server when a new node tries to connect to the network, and the server will instantly reply. The server has a pool of available IP addresses, and this is how the system can work so quickly. Without DHCP, administrators of the network would have to manually assign IP addresses for every node in the network.

And since we have already used about 4 billion IPv4 Addresses, no one would like to maintain this task manually – not now or in the future.

So as you are using your computer or other technological device next time, think about all the intricacies that go into something as simple as relaying a message, and how you as the sender or recipient of that message needs an IP address, just as the other person or device you’re communicating with.

Although the process seems to have just as many steps as sending a letter, thank goodness for technological advancements that now it only takes seconds, or less.